Nov 6, 2010

Ulrich Luz's Matthew 1-7 Commentary

Luz, Ulrich. Matthew 1–7: A Commentary. Edited by Helmut Koester. Translated by James E. Crouch. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007.

Publisher’s Description:

The birth narrative, the baptism and temptation of Jesus, the beginnings of his Galilean ministry, and the Sermon on the Mount are all brilliantly illumined by Ulrich Luz's expert textual and historical-critical analysis and theological commentary. Luz brings special attention to the subsequent history of Christian appropriation of Matthew in homiletical and artistic interpretation, and addresses the terrible legacy of Christian anti-Judaism. This volume completes Luz's three-volume commentary on the Gospel of Matthew in the Hermeneia series. A translation of the earlier German edition of Matthew 1–7 appeared in Fortress Press's Continental Commentary series. The text has been thoroughly revised and updated.

As noted in the above description, this commentary is a significant revision and updating of the author’s 1989 commentary on Matthew 1–7 in the Continental series (see the preface to the Hermeneia edition, p. xvii). This explains in part why this volume is the last of his three volumes on Matthew to be published. The commentary is fairly standard critical fare but what makes the approach of the commentary interesting is its concern for the history of interpretation (Auslegungsgeschichte) and the history of the influence of the text (Wirkungsgeschichte), namely “how the text is received and actualized in media other than commentaries” (p. 61).

Here is a slightly simplified version of the table of contents:

Editor’s Note
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Hermeneia Edition
Translator’s Preface
Reference Codes


1 Structure and Basic Character of Matthew’s Story of Jesus
2 Genre and Intention of the Gospel
3 Sources
4 Style
5 Evangelist’s Relationship to His Sources
6 The Historical Situation of the Gospel of Matthew
7 Text
8 On the Intention of This Commentary and on the Hermeneutical Significance of the History of the Text’s Influence (Wirkungsgeschicht)


Heading (1:1)

I Prelude (1:2–4:22)

A Infancy Narratives (1:2–2:23)
1 Genealogy (1:2–17) 
2 Birth, Endangerment, and Rescue of the Messianic Child (1:18–2:23)
Excursus: The Fulfillment Quotations

B The Beginning of Jesus’ Activity (3:1–4:22)

1 John the Baptist (3:1–17)Excursus: Righteousness (δικαιοσύνη)
Excursus: Son of God
2 The Authentication of the Son of God in Temptation (4:1–11)
3 The Beginning of the Community in Galilee (4:12–22*)
Excursus: Disciple (μαθητής)

II Jesus’ Activity in Israel in Word and Deed (4:23–11:30)

Introductory Overview (4:23–25)

Excursus: Preaching, Teaching, and Gospel in Matthew

A The Sermon on the Mount (5:1–7:29)
1 Introduction (5:1–16)
2 The Main Part (5:17–7:12)
3 Concluding Admonitions (7:13–29)
Excursus: False Prophets

Summary: The Basic Message of the Sermon on the Mount

Conclusion: Reflections on the Praxis of the Sermon on the Mount Today


1. Passages
2. Greek Words
3. Subjects
4. Authors

Thanks to Fortress Press for the review copy. 

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